About this blog

After sharing e-mail after e-mail with my mother's friends and family I decided that it would be more efficient to put this information on a blog so that it would be centrally located. Here you will find information mostly on Fredi Balzano's health struggles. Feel free to contact me with specific questions.

See my other blog at daisybrainlives.blogspot.com for thoughts on knitting and cooking and other family highlights.

Thanks everyone.

Tracy B.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

March 17, 2008

Hello Everyone:

You didn't hear from me for the longest time because I really had nothing to report but things have changed so I am writing again.

I went with mom to an ENT appointment on Friday that really was really encouraging. The last appointments we went to were not so much but there have been some improvements with the health of her throat.

For months now really she has had this valve (I don't know the official name of it) that she can wear over her trach to help her speak. It allows air to enter through the trach for breaching but doesn't allow air to escape sending breath up past her vocal cords. It has since it constricts air flow it is something that she had to get used to wearing. She is now able to wear it most the time and the doctor told her to leave it on whether or not she is speaking. The goal is to tolerate it for 24 hours. I think it won't take time for her to be able to do this. She is highly motivated.

While we were at the doctor he changed her trach tube from a #6 to a #4. This tube is smaller and will allow for more air flow around it so she will be better able to breathe through her nose and mouth and rely less on the tube. Also since it is smaller the expectation is that she will be better able to force stuff out of her lungs through this tube making for less suctioning.

The doctor also said that she can start on clear liquids; water, apple juice, consomme. She is VERY excited about this. They are going to begin to try her on the liquids today. They couldn't start over the weekend because she needed to be evaluated by the speech therapists first and just in case something went wrong they wanted to make sure the medical staff was around. If she tolerates it well after a few days they can start her on soft foods; ice cream, yogurt, applesauce. This is all good news.

More about the valve that helps her to speak. Once she can tolerate it for 24 hours, and she is able to tolerate the food she is given, the doctor will install an actual cap to the trach that doesn't allow air to enter either way effectively closing off that opening. It that goes well they will be able to reverse the tracheostomy.

There are complications that exist of course. A big question is can she handle the food? If it makes her choke, seeps into her lungs and she needs to be suctioned then she will need a swallowing test to see what is going on with her swallowing mechanisms. I think this involves barium and imaging but I could be wrong about that. Let's hope that everything goes smoothly and it doesn't come to that.

Some short term goals are:
She wants to go to church on Easter. The good part is that she is right across the street from the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and she can wheel her there. If she needs to go back to her room for any reason she can be brought there.

She wants to go the ballet with Christina in May. We will need to see how her health progresses and see if she can be at Lincoln center for 3 hours without a nursing staff. I have to speak to the nursing home about that.

She wants to go to her 50th HS reunion in June.

Fredi calls me on the phone now too. She really missed communicating and her voice, while a little rough, is still her own. Thanks to all of you who contributed to her phone.

I'll let you all know what develops in the weeks ahead.



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